ACC reconsiders hosting events in North Carolina after bathroom bill ‘deal’
The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) has said it will reconsider whether to host events in North Carolina after a “deal” to partially repeal the state’s bathroom bill.
North Carolina this week voted to repeal the HB2 bathroom law – but has also banned local authorities from outlawing LGBT discrimination.
LGBT activists have condemned the legislation, which stops local authorities from passing anti-LGBT-discrimination laws until December 2020.
But the state had been set to lose a number of high profile sporting events.
The ACC released a statement saying that conversations will be had about whether the state will be allowed to host events.
The organisation had previously cancelled events in the state after HB2 was passed back in 2016.
“The recently passed legislation allows the opportunity to reopen the discussion with the ACC Council of Presidents regarding neutral site conference championships being held in the state of North Carolina,” ACC commissioner John Swofford said in a statement.
“This discussion will take place in the near future, and following any decisions by the ACC Council of Presidents, announcements will be forthcoming.”
HB2, which came into force a year ago, forced people to use the bathroom of the gender they were assigned at birth.
It was one of the most controversial state laws in recent times and led to many boycotts from companies, music stars and sports organisations.
An Associated Press investigation showed the state was set to lose more than $3.76 billion over the next 12 years because of the law.
Hours before the state was would have lost the possibility of hosting prestigious national college basketball matches, Republican lawmakers and Democratic Governor Roy Cooper announced a deal last night.
Today, the North Carolina Senate voted 32-16 to pass the bill, and the House voted it through by 70 to 48.
Governor Roy Cooper has already signed the bill.
Officially called House Bill 142, the act will also prohibit local authorities from regulating multi-occupancy toilets, showers or changing facilities, leaving it up to the state.
The fact that local authorities are barred from making anti-LGBT discrimination illegal until 2020 prompted an outpouring of anger from many prominent LGBT activists, with Equality NC executive director Chris Sgro calling it a “fake repeal”.
Governor Cooper, who ran for election on a platform of repealing HB2, said: “It’s not a perfect deal, but it repeals HB2 and begins to repair our reputation.”
In a joint statement, Majority Republican leaders Tim Moore and Phil Berger said: “Compromise requires give and take from all sides, and we are pleased this proposal fully protects bathroom safety and privacy.”
It is unclear whether the state could still lose sporting events through the NCAA, which had put pressure on the state to repeal the law or risk losing scheduled events through to 2022.
LGBT groups have criticised the “deal”, saying it doubles down on anti-LGBT discrimination.
In advance of the deal, the state was urged not to compromise on a deal to repeal HB2.